It certainly wasn’t easy, but LAFC overcame a slow start to draw the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 at The Banc on Saturday.
LAFC’s second game of the week, they spotted the Whitecaps, who haven’t played in British Columbia in 2021, two goals, before mounting a 48-minute comeback to knot up the score and split the points.
Raheem Edwards came into the XI, as did Eduard Atuesta, with Eddie Segura and Francisco Ginella making way for LAFC.
LAFC nearly scored on an extended sequence in the 7th minute, with Vancouver making a half-clearance, before Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal made a save but left a rebound hanging out to be claimed. A Vancouver defended pounced on the ball, and just barely missed scoring an own goal himself to end that scoring chance for the home side.
The Whitecaps were up for it early themselves, and Tomas Romero had to parry a floating ball with one hand just after the 15-minute mark to keep them off the board, as LAFC belatedly cleared the ball.
Vancouver ended up taking the lead in the 25th minute through Deiber Caicedo. Romero tried to snuff out the chance but missed, and Kim Moon-hwan got a touch on the ball, and that set it up for Caicedo, who buried it into the open net.
DEIBER!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 25, 2021
A nice move from #VWFC ends in a tap-in for the Colombian. #LAFCvVAN pic.twitter.com/zNKkPQqJF2
It got worse for LA in the 38th minute, with Cristian Dajome hitting a routine header off a free kick to make it 2-0 for the Whitecaps.
Dajome for 2-0! @WhitecapsFC making a first-half statement in LA. #LAFCvVAN pic.twitter.com/qvEKzcXL4u— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 25, 2021
LAFC scored in the 40th minute, but the goal from Carlos Vela was chalked off for an offside call on Diego Rossi in the buildup. After a VAR review, that call was reversed, and Vela’s goal stood to make it 2-1.
¡No te enojes, @11carlosV! Ya van a validar tu gol... #LAFCvVAN | 1-2 pic.twitter.com/p2YwMtNr2v— MLS Español (@MLSes) July 25, 2021
The teams went to the halftime break with LAFC trailing by a goal. Honestly, that goal was huge, though, because the black-and-gold looked dead on their feet before that and it looked like they might be on their way to an embarrassing loss. As it happened, they had work to do but some hope to get it done.
LAFC made changes right out of the gate to start the 2nd half, with Ginella replacing Latif Blessing, Eddie Segura entering for Tristan Blackmon, Diego Palacios taking over for Marco Farfan, and Corey Baird replacing Edwards. So you couldn’t say Bob Bradley wasn’t responding to LAFC’s sluggish play overall in the 1st half.
LAFC pushed and pushed to get a second goal, but Vancouver really shut up shop in the back and picked their spots with the lead. Still, the home side persisted, and they found it through Jose Cifuentes, whose volley against the grain off Palacios’ cross was an absolute beauty, what a goal.
Technique:— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 25, 2021
Jose Cifuentes with the equalizer for @LAFC! #LAFCvVAN pic.twitter.com/FdZKVbH10k
It looked like Dajome had his second goal of the game in the 84th minute, but this time the call helped LAFC the other way, as the goal was chalked off for an obstruction on Romero (basically, setting a pick on the GK) to block him from making a stop on the play.
In the end, the teams ended up with the draw and I think two moments changed the game to benefit LAFC: Vela’s goal just before halftime to give them a boost they desperately needed, and Bradley making the line change at the half to bring in four subs and fresh legs. Aside from the goals this was not an easy game for LAFC, but at least in the 2nd half they looked competent and in the game, which they mostly didn’t in the 1st half.
LAFC get no time to recover for the next game, which comes Wednesday at The Banc against Minnesota United. I’m getting concerned they are wearing out with the bulk of the season ahead, and Minnesota have been pretty good lately after starting the season poorly. As Bradley always says, they’re all big games, and this will be another one.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.